An emerging drummer to watch combines his passions for music and philosophy.
Rhythm freaks may salivate over the complexities here, including polyrhythms of five against four and three, left-foot clave in five, and a ballad in 15/8. But that's not the point. The selections on Esse ("the act of being") are inspired by the work of key Western philosophers, and Gustavo Cortiñas' music successfully conveys the spirituality of those topics. In addition, Cortiñas is, foremost, a highly musical and grooving drummer as well as a laudable composer. A bonus: The music is surprisingly danceable.
Cortiñas, who was raised in Mexico, is currently active on the Chicago jazz scene. On his second disc, he leads his septet, Snapshot, through engaging numbers mixing elements from jazz and multiple Latin cultures, including folkloric styles from his homeland, such as Huapango. Check out the thrilling groove-shifter "Arête," where Cortiñas gets some blazing feature space, delivering high-energy precision soloing framed by vivid ideas. A joyful meeting of mind and spirit.